The Commodores – Brick House (1977)
This is just one of the many great songs you’d hear on The Beat Chicago including our Great Golden Grooves programming where we feature classic R&B, soul and the funk from 10PM – 2AM.
There’s enough stations playing rock n’ roll classics and the same 80’s songs from Bon Jovi, Journey, John Cougar, Elton John all day long and that’s all cool but, when you want something completely different? When you want everything from Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Spinners to Stevie B, C+C Music Factory and more of the music that keeps you movin? We’re it.
See, we’re all about the classics too…. Classic R&B and dance of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, freestyle and more. For us, it’s not about how old a song is, it’s about how good it is and this is as good as it gets.
We’re gonna go back here, back to 1977.
Every time we hear this song, memories of Soul Train come pouring in our heads. The Commodores 70’s party anthem that can still funk up the dancefloor!
Interesting story as to how the song came about: In 1977, the Commodores were in the studio recording when there was a problem with the equipment. While the equipment was being repaired and replaced, the group took a break. Ronald LaPread, the group’s bass player, began jamming. Bit by bit the rest of the band joined in until they came up with a track and bass line.
Upon returning, James Carmichael, the Commodores’ producer, heard and recognized that this could be a song worth recording. He asked everyone to see if they could use the riff to come up with a song. Taking the tapes home, William King played them for his wife, Shirley Hanna-King. While he slept, she was inspired to write lyrics for the riff, modifying the expression “built like a brick shithouse” for the song.
The following day King sang the lyrics to “Brick House” to the band, allowing them to think he had written it. They loved it and decided that drummer Walter “Clyde” Orange had the funky voice to sing lead vocals, (as opposed to Lionel Richie, who usually sang lead), and the song went on the new album.
It took several years before the other members of the group discovered that it was actually Shirley Hanna-King who had written the lyrics, and although she was not originally credited, the band has publicly acknowledged her as the song’s writer.
Taken from their 1977 self-titled album, the song hit #5 in the U.S. and #32 in the UK Singles Chart.
As part of our Hump Day Classics, we did a feature on The Commodores where an entire concert from 1977 was captured live. Click here to watch it now.